Heslop wins second successive Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event

PLYMOUTH’S Aidan Heslop secured back-to-back wins in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series by claiming victory in Japan on Thursday.

Heslop, who had won the last leg in Italy and who had recently been named World Aquatics Male High Diving Athlete of the Year for 2022, claimed glory in the sacred waters of Takachiho’s Gokase River with his final dive.

He entered the last round 20 points behind world series leader Constantin Popovici, but the 21-year-old applied the pressure by scoring eights for his tried and trusted forward four somersaults and three-and-a-half twists pike, before watching on as his Romanian title rival faltered with the final dive of the day.

On his latest win Heslop, who came fifth at recent World Championships in Japan, said: “It was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. My last dive, I couldn’t quite see the scores. So in Costa’s dive, I didn’t know what I was on, what he needed.

“Costa has been so consistent this year that I just kind of expected him to nail it. But it just shows how tricky these conditions are.

“With the rain and the canopy of the trees causing so much darkness, it does affect us clearly. But I’m super happy that my dives were good enough to put me on top of the podium.”

Popovici, however, still holds all the cards entering the final two rounds of the series. The 34-year-old, who earned gold at the recent World Championships in Fukuoka, picked up an extra 10 points for the best dive in Japan, and could potentially secure his first-ever King Kahekili Trophy with victory at the next stop in Mostar.

The men’s podium in Japan was completed by American James Lichtenstein, whose accomplished performance across four rounds – including a first-round leap from the pure rocks – earned him the second top three finish of his career.

Leave a Reply